I haven’t written for the last couple days for several reasons. One is that I’ve been busy. Another reason is that the internet has been too poor to access my blog, and on top of that, I haven’t felt like writing because I’ve been sick. All weekend I couldn’t eat anything, but today I’ve started to eat canned fruit and white rice. I’m actually feeling quite normal.
Our cat, Panther, however, took a trip to the vet today. He’s been sick all weekend too, but he has an infection. His leg is swollen, he has a fever, and he’s been moping around the house with me. We make good company.
Of course, for the trip to the vet, we had to drive. I don’t know if any of you have ever had to go driving with a cat, but in my experience, cats are terrified of driving. You generally have to keep them in a cage for the entire trip to keep them from scratching you and making a mess of the car.
We don’t have a cage. Not only that, but Paulo and I were the only one’s available to go to the vet, so that meant that one of us would drive while the other held the cat. The only car at home was stick. So far, I only drive automatic, and besides, I don’t know my way to the veterinary office. I got the cat, Paulo got the car.
The experience of holding Panther on the way to the vet was most certainly memorable. I don’t think I will forget that experience for quite a while, or at least not until the smell of cat pee fades from my skirt. What struck me the most though was something that I saw just outside the veterinary office.
On the dirt road in front of the office there were several dogs (there are animals everywhere here). As we pulled up and parked they all walked away lazily except for one. A small white dog slithered away as quickly as he could, misery and fear all over his face. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more revoltingly grotesque and yet achingly pitiable animal.
Bent backwards, twisted, and misshapen, his legs trailed behind him as he pulled himself along with his front legs. I’ve seen dogs scoot around on their bottoms before, but this was different. At first I just thought that his back legs were broken. It looked like his femurs had been snapped backwards and his hips dislocated. Then Paulo pointed it out to me. The dog could only move from the shoulders up. His back must have been broken, and he was paralyzed from the upper back down. I was horrified.
Here we were, right outside the veterinary office, a place where animals come to be healed, and there was this display of such agony. As I thought about this dog and his physical condition despite his proximity to relief, a flood of impressions filled my mind. Sitting outside a church doesn’t make a sinner whole. And just as the dog wouldn’t be healed even if he was sitting inside the veterinary clinic, I won’t be healed if I simply sit in church every Sabbath. This dog needed extreme help. Actually, he needed more than that. The only way to relieve him from his miserable life would be to put him down. It is the same for me. I must die to truly live, but I have something that this dog doesn’t have: a Savior.
Sin causes separation, suffering, sickness, injustice - everything bad and undesirable, and in its finality, it brings forth death. There is no cure, or explanation for it. Its only remedy is complete eradication and destruction. Yet through Christ, the death of sin is transformed into the rebirth of a new person. Praise the Lord! Neither physical death nor death to self have to be the end for me. I can be filled with new life, a new heart, and the mind of Christ.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” –Romans 6:5-8